ECONOMY

In Brief

ELVO approves massive investment plan The recently part-privatized Hellenic Vehicles Industry (ELVO) yesterday announced a 38-billion-drachma investment program in the military and civilian production sectors. This will be largely financed through a series of share capital increases totaling 20 billion drachmas, approved by the Annual General Assembly (AGM) for the period to 2006. The company, which is now 43 percent controlled and managed by the Mytilineos group, said it aims at a restructuring of production with a view to increasing added value in the armaments programs for the Greek army and improving cost factors in civilian production. The investment program is part of ELVO’s five-year business plan, also approved by the AGM yesterday. The first installment of the share capital increase, amounting to 5.6 billion drachmas, will be paid up before the end of the year. Tobacco growers puff over subsidy cuts The Confederation of Agricultural Cooperative Unions (PASEGES) has announced mobilizations of tobacco farmers, following the release of a European Parliament proposal for the gradual abolition of tobacco subsidies by 2006. If we do not act now and until January-February when the new regulation will be voted, there will be dramatic developments, said PASEGES President Tzannetos Karamichas at a press conference. We all know that even if they did away with tobacco growing altogether, this would not affect smoking as there would be imports of dubious quality from third countries. Besides, economically speaking, for every 1 billion euros in subsidies paid to tobacco growers, the European Union receives 63 billion in taxes on tobacco and its products, he said. PASEGES has set up a committee to deal with the problem, which will seek contacts with respective organizations in Spain and Italy. It has also scheduled regional meetings in all areas where tobacco is grown and a rally in Thessaloniki on November 19. Cyprus part-privatizes airports. Cyprus’s Parliament yesterday approved the partial privatization of the island’s two airports amid recriminations and strikes by workers opposed to the move. In the first legislation of its kind, the bill effectively gives the government the go-ahead to invite tenders for the development of Larnaca and Paphos airports in a contract worth some $300 million. Deputies said the law would be enacted in March 2003. The government says it needs a private partner to help develop and operate the two airports under a build-operate-transfer (BOT) contract for a period of 15 years. It maintains the 700-1,000 workers at both terminals will not be affected, but employees say they fear job losses. (Reuters) Quality Week. The Hellenic Business Management Association (EEDE) has undertaken the organization of European Quality Week in Greece, November 5 through 11. The event, which is held concurrently in all European Union member states, comprises a series of seminars, workshops, exhibition and visits to various firms. It is sponsored by TüV Hellas, while Quality Net is a communication sponsor. For more information tel 211.2000. Turkey says the impact of the September 11 attacks on its export and tourism business means it needs new international assistance for its economy in 2002.